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Here's how the federal government decides monkeypox vaccine allocations

11,000 monkeypox vaccine doses have already shipped to the Carolinas, with more allocated for the two states. VERIFY looks at how state dose counts are calculated.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The U.S. has officially declared its monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency. The declaration, in part, is designed to better mobilize resources to respond to the virus.

Some of that response, will include more vaccines -- supplies of which, thus far, have fallen short of demand in many jurisdictions.

In Mecklenburg County, health officials reported Thursday a waiting list for the shots more than 2,000 people long.

Strategic National Stockpile

VERIFY recently shared how the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile contains stores of monkeypox vaccine, reportedly enough to help millions. However, most of those doses are in Denmark.

Since the federal government started shipping vaccine back home, state health agencies in the Carolinas have reported the arrival of more than 11,000 doses, collectively, with more than 13,000 allocated for the two states to order over the next several weeks.

Allocation formula

Dr. Linda Bell, State Epidemiologist with South Carolina's Department of Health and Environmental Control, said the federal government takes multiple factors into account when determining how many doses to send each state.

"75% is weighted for the disease burden in the jurisdiction, and then 25% for the at-risk population," Bell said.

North Carolina has set its at-risk criteria for vaccination as follows:

  • Anyone who had close contact in the past two weeks with someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox
  • Gay or bisexual men or transgender individuals who report any of the following in the last 90 days:
    • Having multiple sex partners or anonymous sex
    • Being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection
    • Receiving medications to prevent HIV infection (PrEP)

Disease burden by state & vaccine allocation

The CDC's monkeypox case tracker shows 6,617 cases nationwide, as of Thursday night. The tracker shows states with the most cases are New York, California, Illinois, Texas, Florida and Georgia--in that order. New York carries about 25% of the nation's cases, with 1,666.

Those six states have also received the highest allocations of vaccine, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services distribution data.

Credit: WCNC

North Carolina ranks 16th in the nation for cases, with 72. South Carolina is much further down in the list, ranking 28th, with 23 cases. The disease burden in the Carolinas would suggest they are generally somewhere in the middle when it comes to vaccine priority.

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